Netflix’s new film “Love Wedding Repeat” is exactly the kind of entertainment the world could use right now.
“We wanted it to be this really light, fun romantic comedy,” star Olivia Munn says on this week’s episode of the Variety and iHeart podcast “The Big Ticket.”
The wedding ensemble (available now on Netflix), directed by Dean Craig, stars Sam Claflin as the brother of the bride (Eleanor Tomlinson) who is hoping to rekindle a romance with one of his sister’s friends, played by Munn. But things take a disastrous turn when a childhood friend (Jack Farthing) shows up coked out of his mind and determined to profess his love for the wife-to-be. Rounding out the cast are Freida Pinto, Joel Fry, Tim Key, Allan Mustafa and Aisling Bea.
In a twist, the film also imagines what would happen under different circumstances. “It’s like if everybody sat at a table, and you have your place settings, and what if things were just changed slightly, and now everybody was sitting at a different seat?” Munn explains. “So how could everything change from that one moment? And just those small choices that really just kind of completely change your life.”
They shot on location at the 17th century Villa Parisi outside of Rome. “We had an Italian crew,” Munn says. “So we’d be learning Italian — can’t remember any of the Italian — but we loved being able to work with this Italian crew. It was an ensemble, so we’re all getting to hang out together all the time, and laugh. This is, for me, what you dream of, just to go to work and laugh every day.”
See more from Munn’s interview below.
How are you surviving in this coronavirus world?
I’m surviving and very grateful. You hear how many people are struggling and how many people are not surviving, and it’s definitely surreal. I had two friends die unexpectedly, actually, within a week and a half of each other. And that was such a crazy, very surreal experience. They’re both young. One was actually a very new mother. She had her baby one day and then passed away unexpectedly the next. Another friend of mine, my best friend from high school, and she was diagnosed with colon cancer just a couple weeks before, and then died. And we thought that she had more months of fighting and all that. And so it’s a very surreal feeling to go through a loss like that, because it feels like it didn’t really happen. So much a part of grief is the grieving of it and the community of it and grieving together with people and being able to hug my friends’ moms or husbands and say goodbye. And so it’s a very strange, dream-like state to not be able to say goodbye to people.
I’m so sorry. Were you working on anything when we got stay-at-home orders? Were you in production on anything when all of this went down?
I was in pre-production. I sold a show to Amazon that we’ve been working on and writing and some other scripts I was writing that we were on final stages of. So I’m lucky to say it was just all pre-production stuff. It was all stuff that we’d be doing from home and office anyways.
As a person of Asian descent, what’s your reaction when you see the racism that [surfaced amid the pandemic]? Everyone’s looking for scapegoats.
I think it’s really disappointing to hear that, and it’s very scary. And it makes me scared for myself, my family members, friends, other people in the Asian community. At the end of the day, like you just said, it boils down to people wanting someone to blame, or they need a target to take out their frustrations and anger. So that seems such like an archaic response, that it didn’t seem real. At first I thought, I mean, that seems crazy. Then you hear the president saying it.
Let’s talk about escapism from this crazy, upside-down world: “Love Wedding Repeat.” It’s really sweet. It gives us a nice break. I didn’t have to think about coronavirus, and got to see a fun, silly rom-com.
Well, that’s exactly what we actually wanted it to be received like by people. We wanted it to be this really light, fun romantic comedy.
Do you like weddings?
You know what’s funny, is I’ve only gone to, I want to say, four weddings in my life. Maybe five, total. Definitely no more than one hand. But the weddings I have gone to, I do find boring. I always think this is interesting at weddings: I feel like the wedding part is really for whoever’s marrying them, because you only see the backs of your friends’ heads.
Do you have a dream wedding for yourself?
No. I never have ever been that girl. And I’ll hear about friends who have, and I’ve just never been the person that’s like, “Oh, I can’t wait to get married. This is what it’s going to be like, what my ring would be.” I don’t really have any of those. The idea of getting married has always made me a little … It gives me … I don’t know what that word is for … I’m like, “It’s hot in here, right?” It’s like, “Really?” … Yeah, I just feel like to pick one person forever.
You’re a big animal rights activist. Have you watched “Tiger King?”
Yes. And I’m also from Oklahoma.
Tell me what you think.
It was just a hot mess of a world. And animals like this should really be free, big cats, so many animals that deserve to live their life outside of captivity. It’s so important. And it was very sad. I mean, there’s a lot of entertaining elements to it, but to me, it just came off as really sad when you see what these animals are going through and how people just treating them like currency. And there’s no emotion or connection to it at all. And there’s such a lack of empathy, not just for the people who are profiting off of this, but the people who pay to have these experiences with these animals… It’s so cute to hold a baby tiger or a baby cheetah or a baby monkey and everybody wants to do those things, but all you’re doing is you’re aiding in the abuse.
You tweeted about the Harvey Weinstein verdict in New York. What do you think is the next step?
I think it’s important that we keep holding people accountable for their actions. I think that it’s important that we continue to support people who speak out. I think it’s important to also call out the people who are complicit in keeping these people in positions of power because it was beneficial for them as well. And I think it’s always really important, throughout any of this, is people need to speak out, name names, and we need to believe them.
This has been edited and condensed for clarity. You can listen to the full interview below. You can also find “The Big Ticket” at iHeartRadio or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.